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Municipalities take P3 approach to CNG adoption

Posted June 12, 2017
cng powered trash truck

Public-private partnerships (P3) for vehicles help municipalities maintain fleets and gain access to some of the latest vehicle technologies without the hefty upfront capital. The same holds true for municipalities ready to add compressed natural gas vehicles. By using a P3, municipalities can reap the benefits of lower fuel costs and environmentally friendlier fuels.

Being green is just the start

The use of CNG fuel has grown in popularity in recent years. From nationally recognized corporations to mass transit systems and municipal vehicles to local food and beverage vendors, a variety of industry and government sectors are turning to natural gas as a fuel alternative. Converting to CNG will reduce the carbon emissions of these fleets by nearly 30 percent and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by over 80 percent, which greatly diminishes greenhouse gas emissions, according to NGVAmerica.

Checking off the green box is not the only reason municipalities and other commercial fleets are turning to CNG. CNG trucks are quiet, making them ideal for communities who want to lessen noise pollution. This makes them especially popular with municipal refuse collection fleets.

In addition to reducing air and noise pollution, municipalities are also looking toward CNG to reduce fuel costs. Natural gas prices historically remain low and stable. Not only does this result in long-term fuel savings, but it also facilitates budgetary planning.

Getting to square one

While municipal fleet managers may be well aware of the cost and environmental advantages of CNG vehicles, making such a transition seems like a daunting task for many local governments. Taking the P3 approach, this allows additional private-sector partners to be brought into the fold.

It's beginning to pay off. Companies like Trillium CNG enter into public-private partnerships and provide a boost to CNG infrastructure cost sharing, which benefits local municipal fleets as well as other commercial fleet owners. A notable example is the partnership between Trillium and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) in which Trillium increases both public and private CNG fueling infrastructure by designing and constructing 29 heavy-duty fueling stations, the first of which opened in late April 2017 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

As these partnerships are further explored, you can expect to see more municipalities directly seek out partners in the private sector for fuel infrastructure, vehicle conversion and maintenance assistance. Identifying these key partnerships from the private sector ignite further interest among local governments in taking the steps to convert to CNG.

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